The televised Downing Street briefings Allegra Stratton was hired to oversee have been shelved, and the talented former Newsnight and ITV broadcaster shuffled over to lead the government’s communications on the climate change summit COP26. She is nonetheless a key player in the government’s spin machine, with her meteoric rise belying her lack of prior Spad experience. A noted journalist for many years, Stratton was first a producer at Newsnight before becoming a political correspondent for The Guardian, returning to Newsnight as political editor before finally defecting to ITV, where she was national editor. Appointed Rishi Sunak’s director of strategic communications in April 2020, she stayed in the role just a few months before being poached by Downing Street as the new press secretary. This put her at loggerheads with Number Ten comms chief Lee Cain, who promptly resigned, ironically having argued in favour of Stratton’s job existing. Stratton and her husband James Forsyth, the Spectator’s political editor, are godparents to Sunak’s children, and vice versa. The chancellor, an old school friend of Forsyth’s, was best man at his wedding. But anyone who thinks that Stratton or Forsyth’s jobs got any easier when she entered government is well wide of the mark.